It was only a matter of time before Tallulah Falls School officially launched a softball program. After more than a year of several students and families showing interest, the time was finally right to build the foundation. The addition of the softball program provides new opportunities for the students and enhances the landscape of TFS athletics. Building that foundation required the right people – someone to coach and lead the efforts, and students interested in the game.
Finding a coach was the easy part. Enter Danielle Smith, who racked up six years coaching at the varsity and JV level in fastpitch softball prior to coming to Tallulah Falls School ahead of the 2021-22 school year. She herself was a standout varsity player in high school and played travel softball as well. She was eager to help build a solid foundation for a program that will hopefully soon be competing.
“Our amazing students were the driving force behind starting a softball program,” says Smith. “I had expressed my interest in coaching softball to AD [Scott] Neal, and everything lined up perfectly. We had so much interest from the survey, it seemed to be natural for communication to flow.”
Once word got out that a program was being built, many TFS students jumped at the opportunity to be a part of something historic and special.
“Students were so excited,” adds Smith. “Girls came to my room every day and were asking about the program and what it would look like for them to join. The energy surrounding the launch was electric.”
Over the summer, Smith spearheaded a softball camp for those girls in grades four-12 from July 11-13. The camp featured Habersham County native and standout Division-I softball player Paige Cook coming to help train the kids. Cook is a starting infielder for Mississippi State University, and TFS players gleaned from her insight in the game of softball. That camp stands as a stepping stone for many players.
“The summer softball camp was an incredible experience,” states Smith. “It definitely spurred the excitement for a team, and helped many of our own players develop in their skills and knowledge of the game.”
Both a high school and middle school team have been established, and the natural question that comes up is when we will see those teams in action.
“Girls came to my room every day and were asking about the program and what it would look like for them to join. The energy surrounding the launch was electric.” -coach Danielle Smith
“Next season I am looking to have a full JV schedule, and the year after next would be our first varsity GHSA year,” forecasts Smith.
Among the many young athletes who comprise the roster are a few with real game experience. Both Katie Anderson and Tahj Charlton will be counted on for leadership from the get-go.
“Katie has played multiple years of competitive softball, and is definitely a strong leadership presence for our team,” says Smith. “Tahj also has many years of experience and contributes positively to team dynamics with her work ethic and dedication. I am so excited for the possibilities of this program and the future growth that we will be able to see for the individual players and our entire team.”
The program currently consists of 10 high schoolers and four middle schoolers. Of the high school group, there are three juniors, four sophomores, and three freshmen.
Each passing day draws them closer to the Tallulah Falls softball game opener. Until then, Smith and the girls will continue to work on honing their skills so that when the time comes to take the field, they’ll be more than ready to make some history.